NEW YORK – Michelle Caruso-Cabrera is running for Congress in New York’s 14th Congressional District, challenging incumbent Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic primary.
As a journalist, lead reporter and anchor at CNBC for over 20 years, she reported live from many major global events including the Greek debt crisis, the Brexit vote, the 2008 U.S. financial crisis, and the U.S. elections. Of Italian and Cuban descent, Caruso-Cabrera spoke with The National Herald about her campaign, taking on AOC, and giving back to the community.
TNH: What inspired your run for office?
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: I’m the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants. I believe in the American dream. Our Congressional District is one of the most diverse in the nation. We are African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and a people of many other proud racial and ethnic backgrounds. We are predominantly working people. The working people of the Bronx and Queens are being robbed. When I talk to my hardworking neighbors, they tell me they want jobs. They want access to healthcare. They want a Congresswoman who will work with others to unite and lead us out of this pandemic.
TNH: Did you always want to go into politics?
MCC: Growing up, my immigrant grandparents instilled in me the values of helping others and that everyone deserves opportunities for a better quality of life. There was always a side of me that was interested in public service and helping the community and for many years journalism served that interest. I have been an active board member of Ballet Hispanico and I enjoy seeing how as an active member of the community we can make a difference.
I studied economics in college, and that dovetails with government. Many of the problems in economies, whether at the local level or across the country, go hand-in-hand with the challenges that elected leaders face. To have a stable and just society, you have to have a stable and just economy. Likewise, a failing economy creates societal challenges that governments must address. We are seeing this now in the context of COVID-19. I also saw this in 2010 when I was an investigative reporter assigned to the European financial crisis, reporting live from Athens, Rome, Frankfurt, Madrid, Brussels, Luxembourg, and Cyprus. I spent nearly five years covering Greece’s economic crisis spending an entire month there in the summer of 2015 when they almost abandoned the Euro.
You need strong public servants who actually know what they’re doing to lead government through difficult times like these. It’s not a training ground. If you don’t understand the economy and how to work together with businesses to make it through tough times, society will unfortunately suffer. Most importantly, people will suffer.
TNH: What are the main challenges facing your campaign?
MCC: The challenge of any campaign is defeating your opponent. Fortunately, for my campaign, my opponent AOC is really showing her true colors. She does not know what she is doing, and she does not care about the working people of the Bronx and Queens. She is more interested in building her own national celebrity profile. She is a divider. Rather than uniting people at a time like this, she trumpets an angry ideological agenda. In March, while the Bronx and Queens became the epicenter of COVID-19, she was off campaigning across the country with Bernie Sanders. While people clung to life in this district’s hospitals and formed modern day bread lines outside our grocery stores, she slept in her luxury Washington, DC apartment and went shopping at the Whole Foods in its lobby. While her neighbors lost their jobs, she tweeted about her manicure and how her dog needed Timberland booties. She is not a serious individual. Contrast AOC’s actions to Governor Cuomo’s leadership. I am running to be the kind of public servant Governor Cuomo has been. Competent, strong, and compassionate. That is the only way to be.
In terms of issues, COVID-19 is far and away the most important. It has challenged not only my campaign but all of our lives. It has forced us all to think outside the box and lend a hand to those who need it most. Typically, a campaign would be knocking on doors. Instead, we’re working with community organizations and churches like St. Demetrios to provide masks and assist with food delivery to those on the frontlines of this crisis, like the brave healthcare workers at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Astoria.
TNH: What are the top issues you want to tackle once elected?
MCC: My number one focus will be on bringing jobs back to the Bronx and Queens. We need this now more than ever. We must work with local businesses to make sure they get back on their feet. We also need to prioritize current local projects that can create job opportunities immediately. Sunnyside Yards in Queens has this potential. The Sunnyside Yards Master Plan calls for the creation of the Sunnyside Station, 100 percent affordable housing, new open space, equitable homeownership opportunities, infrastructure and other public amenities. I will do everything in my power, working alongside members of our community and local leaders, to make sure Sunnyside Yards and other projects like it succeed, while ensuring the concerns of the community are addressed and met.
On healthcare, our campaign’s priority and my promise to the Bronx and Queens is ensuring we expand access to healthcare to all families. The federal government was wrong for trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. I want to protect the working people of the Bronx and Queens and secure their right to quality, affordable health care. We also need to ensure continued protections are in place for the most vulnerable among us who have preexisting conditions.
The third priority of our campaign is bringing people together. I will unite the working people of the Bronx and Queens behind a vision of a more prosperous future with better economic opportunities. We stand the best chance of accomplishing this by working together at all levels of government. I pledge to partner with Governor Cuomo, Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Schumer to ensure essential government services and better opportunities are provided to those in our communities who need them the most.
More information about Michelle Caruso-Cabrera is available online: https://michellecc2020.com.